Exercise: An Important Constipation Prevention

Published on March 27, 2016

Have your bowels become infrequent or are your stools hard, dry, and difficult to pass? Are you experiencing swelling or cramps in your abdominal area? Or, do you feel like your bowels aren’t completely empty after using the bathroom? If so, there’s a good chance that you’re suffering from constipation.

The Causes of Constipation

Constipation occurs when the colon, the part of the digestive system that is responsible for absorbing water from your food, absorbs too much water. As a result of this excessive water absorption, the stools at the end of the digestive system end up being dry, hard, and difficult to expel.

There are many things that can lead to being constipated, including:

  • Not consuming enough fibre.
  • A diet that is comprised of high amounts of processed foods.
  • Not drinking enough fluids.
  • Putting off the need to go to the bathroom when the need arises.
  • A change in your routine.
  • Stress.

It has also been found that inactivity, or a lack of exercise, can result in this condition.

Exercise to Ease Constipation

When the body is active, it decreases the amount of time it takes food to pass through the large intestine. As a result, the amount of water that is absorbed by the colon is reduced. Additionally, exercise helps to boost your breath and heart rate, which aids in stimulating the natural contractions that occur in the intestinal muscles. When the intestinal muscles contract properly, stools move out of the digestive system faster.

Exercises that Ease Constipation

Virtually any type of physical activity can help to ease the symptoms of constipation. Something as simple as walking for 15 minutes a few times a day can help to improve the function of the digestive system, thus relieving constipation. Running, swimming, jogging and dancing are other forms of physical activity are a type of natural remedy that can effectively ease constipation.

If you’re looking for more specific exercises to aid in constipation, try these three:

  • Flutter Kicks – Lie on the floor on your stomach, extend your legs and raise them slightly off the ground. Slightly bend your knees and rapidly kick your legs, as if you were swimming. 
  • Leg Lifts – Lay flat on your back on the floor. Straighten your legs and raise your feet about a foot off the floor. Hold them your feet up for 10 seconds and lower. Repeat this action three times. 
  • L-Shaped Tilts – Lay on your back on the floor. Raise your legs up, making an L shape. Raise your arms above your chest, slowly exhale and gently raise you back up off the floor. Lower your back down onto the floor. Repeat five times. 

If you find that changes in your diet and exercise are not effective, you might want to try taking laxatives or an over-the-counter constipation medication, such as Dulcolax®

By changing your lifestyle and diet, increasing the amount you exercise and by taking constipation medication when necessary, constipation relief can be achieved.

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